IAM members at AK Steel in Middletown, OH voted overwhelmingly this week to approve a new contract that secures workers’ pensions and brings an end to the nearly 13-month long lockout. The vote was 1,275 in favor, 226 opposed.
The agreement calls for wage increases of up to $2.32 per hour and for AK Steel to begin contributing to the IAM National Pension Plan at a rate of $1.50 per hour, increasing to $1.80 per hour after 36 months. The new contract, which expires in September 2011, also calls for all workers to return to work within 90 days.
“This has been a long and painful ordeal and I am proud of our members at AK Steel. Their determination helped end this lockout,” said Eastern Territory GVP Lynn D. Tucker, Jr. “I would also like to thank the community, Middletown’s City Council, County Commissioner Mike Fox, Sheriff Richard Jones, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, and Governor Ted Strickland. Their support also helped to end this lockout. Now is the time to start the healing. Our members can hold their heads up high when they return to the mill and start making the best steel in the industry.
“On behalf of the Eastern Territory and its members, I extend our congratulations and appreciation to lead negotiator Grand Lodge Representative James Smith, Local Lodge 1943 President and Directing Business Representative Brian Daley and his committee for a job well done. I would also like to acknowledge the work of Administrative Assistant Dale Hartford, Grand Lodge Representative Karl Heim, and Communication Representative Jim Tyler who helped to bring this lockout to a successful conclusion.”
In an announcement that surprised no one, China declared it will enter the large aircraft market over the next few years, producing commercial airliners that will compete head-to-head with Boeing and Airbus.
In numerous forums, the IAM warned U.S. policy makers for nearly a decade that China is developing a globally viable commercial aircraft industry. On each of these occasions, the IAM stressed the significant role that outsourcing, offsets and technology transfer would play in the development of China’s emerging aerospace industry.
“China has the resources, capacity, and the will to develop a large civil aircraft industry,” said Owen Herrnstadt, IAM’s Director of Trade and Globalization. “This latest announcement should serve as a wake up call to anyone interested in the future health of the U.S. aerospace industry and U.S. aerospace workers.”
A 12-foot high inflatable rat is the latest presence on the picket lines of Local 2545 in Loudon, TN, where IAM members are in the fifth week of a strike against Maremont Exhaust. The giant rat is used by labor unions around the country to draw attention to corporate greed and misbehavior.
“The folks in Loudon stop by the picket line, offer encouragement and support to our members, and everyone wants a picture with the picketers and the rat,” said District 711 Business Representative Jerry Benson. “Everyone is holding together strong.
“I’m proud of the solidarity and courage our members in Loudon are showing, and I’m happy to see the community come together in support of the workers at Maremont,” said Southern Territory GVP Bob Martinez.
The workers at Maremont are on strike over wages and health care costs. No talks are currently scheduled. You can view pictures and submit words of encouragement for the strikers at http://tiptopwebsite.com/iam2545.
Three IAM members are among the 2006 winners of Union Plus scholarships to the National Labor College (NLC). Each year a total of $25,000 is awarded to eligible NLC students. Recipients must be current, dues-paying union members and are chosen based on financial need.
The IAM winners are: John Werkmeister of McDonald, PA; a 22-year member and Committeeman of Local 1976; Al Abromitis of Manassas, VA; a 24-year member of Local 1759. Al is Communicator and web steward for his Local and District 141 and Robert Cousins of Seward, NE; a 17-year member and President of Local 1569.
The National Labor College (http://www.nlc.edu), located in Silver Spring, MD, is the only accredited college in the world dedicated exclusively to educating union members, leaders, activists and staff. Since its inception in 2002, the ( http://www.unionplus.org) NLC Scholarship Program has awarded over $125,000 to more than 110 students.
The enrollment deadline for the IAM Human Rights Department Class to be held May 20-25, 2007, at the William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center is this Friday, March 16, 2007.
The May 20-25 class is the first of two training classes held by the IAM Human Rights Department. The second class will be held October 21-26, 2007.
The course will help local or district lodges set up an effective Human Rights Committee and focus on strategies to better protect members’ rights for lodges with existing Human Rights Committees.
Go to www.goiam.org for a copy of the official call (http://www.goiam.org/uploadedFiles/HR%20Call%20Letter.pdf) and enrollment form. (http://www.goiam.org/uploadedFiles/HR_Seminar_Enrollment_Form_2007(1).pdf ) For more information, contact IAM Human Rights Department Director Charlotte Sund at (301) 967-4572.